Naruto Uzumaki is a young boy who has the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox sealed within him. Twelve years before the start of the series, the fox attacked the ninja village Konohagakure, slaughtering many people. As such, the leader of Konohagakure – the Fourth Hokage – sacrificed his own life to seal the demon inside Naruto when he was a newborn. Konohagakure, however, regarded Naruto as if he were the demon fox itself and mistreated him throughout most of his childhood. A decree made by the Third Hokage forbade anyone mention the attack of the demon fox to anyone although Naruto soon realized about this. Years later, Naruto graduated from the Ninja Academy by using his Shadow Clone Technique, a technique from a forbidden scroll that he was tricked into stealing, to save his teacher, Iruka Umino, from the renegade ninja Mizuki. That encounter gave Naruto two insights: that he was the container of the demon fox, and that there was someone besides the Third Hokage who actually cared for and acknowledged him.

The main story follows Naruto and his friends' personal growth and development as ninja, and emphasizes their interactions with each other and the influence of their backgrounds on their personalities. Naruto finds two friends and comrades in Sasuke Uchiha and Sakura Haruno, two fellow young ninja who are assigned with him to form a three-person team under an experienced sensei named Kakashi Hatake. Naruto also confides in other characters that he meets throughout the series as well. They learn new abilities, get to know each other and other villagers better, and experience a coming-of-age journey as Naruto dreams of becoming the Hokage of Konohagakure. Throughout all of the Naruto plot, strong emphasis on character development changes the plot, with very few things happening because of chance. At first, emphasis is placed on Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura, who are the members of Team 7. Later, Orochimaru, a criminal at the top of Konoha's most wanted list, attacks Konoha killing the Third Hokage as an act of revenge. He also desires to acquire Sasuke Uchiha due to his powerful genetic heritage. Believing Orochimaru will be able to give him the strength needed to kill his brother Itachi, who destroyed all his clan, he goes to him. Naruto does not give up on Sasuke, leaving Konoha for two-and-a-half years of training to prepare himself for the next time he meets Sasuke. After the training period, a mysterious organization called Akatsuki attempts to capture the nine powerful tailed beasts including the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox that is sealed inside of Naruto. Several ninjas from Konoha, including Team 7, fight against the Akatsuki members as well as Team 7 search for their teammate Sasuke.


The main characters of Team 7 (counterclockwise, from left): Sasuke Uchiha, Sakura Haruno, Naruto Uzumaki, and team leader, Kakashi Hatake

Naruto has a large number of characters, in which most of them are distinguished for being ninjas. They initially study at the Ninja Academy, where the story begins, are split up into squads of three after their graduation and become Genin, rookie ninja. Each squad is assigned an experienced sensei.[1] These core squads form a basis for the characters' interactions later in the series, where characters are chosen for missions for their team's strength and complementary skills; Naruto's squad 7 becomes the social frame where Naruto is acquainted with Sasuke, Sakura, and their sensei Kakashi, forming the core of his world-in-the-making.[2] The other three-man teams of his former classmates form another such layer, as Naruto connects with them to various degrees, learning of their motives, vulnerabilities, and aspirations, often relating them to his own. The groups of three are not limited to the comrades Naruto's age – groups in the story in general come in threes and multiples of three with very few exceptions.

Sensei-student relationships play a significant role in the series; Naruto has a number of mentors with whom he trains and learns, most notably Iruka, the first ninja to recognize Naruto's existence, Kakashi, his team leader, and Jiraiya, and there are often running threads of tradition and tutelage binding together several generations. These role models provide guidance for their students not only in the ninja arts but also in a number of Japanese aesthetics and philosophical ideals. Techniques, ideals, and mentalities noticeably run in families, Naruto often being exposed to the abilities and traditions of generation-old clans in his village when friends from his own age group demonstrate them, or even achieve improvements of their own; it is poignantly noted that Naruto's generation is particularly talented.


Kishimoto first authored a one-shot of Naruto in the August 1997 issue of Akamaru Jump.[3][4] The original Naruto had a significant theming on friendship and trust. At the beginning of the story, neither Naruto or Kuroda trusted anyone, but by the end both befriended and trusted each other. Despite its high results in the reader poll after getting released, Kishimoto thought "[the] art stinks and the story's a mess!" Kishimoto also revealed that he was originally working on Karakuri for the Hop Step Award when, unsatisfied by the rough drafts, he decided to work on something different instead, which later formed into Naruto. When an interviewer asked Kishimoto if he had any message for his Anglophone audience, Kishimoto said "I feel sometimes that Naruto is too Japanese, with all the chakra and hand signs, but as you read it you'll find that it's fun."[5]

When originally creating the Naruto story, Kishimoto looked to other shōnen manga as influences for his work, although he attempted to make his characters as unique as possible.[6] The separation of the characters into different teams was intended to give each group a specific flavor. Kishimoto wished for each member to be "extreme," having a high amount of aptitude in one given attribute yet be talentless in another."[7] The insertion of villains into the story was largely to have them act as a counterpoint to the characters' moral values. Kishimoto has admitted that this focus on illustrating the difference in values is central to his creation of villains to the point that, "I don't really think about them in combat."[8]

When drawing the characters, Kishimoto follows a five-step process that he consistently follows: concept and rough sketch, drafting, inking, shading, and coloring. These steps are followed when he is drawing the actual manga and making the color illustrations that commonly adorn the cover of tankōbon, the cover of Weekly Shōnen Jump, or other media, but the toolkit he utilizes occasionally changes.[9] For instance, he utilized an airbrush for one illustration for a Weekly Shōnen Jump cover, but decided not to use it for future drawings largely due to the cleanup required.[10]

Kishimoto added that, as Naruto takes place in a "Japanese fantasy world," the creator has to "set certain rules, in a systematic way" so that he could easily "convey the story." Kishimoto wanted to "draw on" the Chinese zodiac tradition, which had a long-standing presence in Japan; the zodiac hand signs originate from this. When Kishimoto was creating the setting of the Naruto manga, he initially concentrated on the designs for village of Konohagakure, the primary setting of the series. Kishimoto asserts that his design for Konohagakure was created "pretty spontaneously without much thought", but admits that the scenery is based on his home in the Okayama prefecture in Japan. Without a specific time period, Kishimoto included modern elements in the series such as convenience stores, but specifically excluded projectile weapons and vehicles from the storyline. For reference materials, Kishimoto performs his own research into Japanese culture and alludes to it in his work.[11] Regarding technology Kishimoto said that Naruto would not have any firearms. He said he may include automobiles, aircraft, and "low-processing" computers; Kishimoto specified the computers would "maybe" be eight-bit and that they would "definitely not" be sixteen-bit.[12] He has also stated that he has a visual idea of the last chapter of the series, including the text and the story. However, he notes that it may take a long time to end the series since "there are still so many things that need to be resolved".[13]



Naruto premiered in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine in 1999.[14][15] The first 238 chapters are known as Part I, and constitute the first part of the Naruto storyline. Manga chapters 239 to 244 comprise a gaiden series focusing on the background of the character Kakashi Hatake. All subsequent chapters belong to Part II, which continues the storyline in Part I after a two and a half year time jump. The English adaptation of the Naruto manga is licensed by Viz and serialized in Viz's version of Shonen Jump.[14] In order to compensate for the gap between the Japanese and English adaptations of the manga, Viz announced its "Naruto Nation" campaign, where it would release three volumes a month in the last four months of 2007 in order to close said gap.[16] Cammie Allen, Viz's product manager, commented that, "Our main reason [for the accelerated schedule] was to catch up to the Japanese release schedule to give our readers a similar experience to that of our readers in Japan."[16] A similar campaign is planned for 2009, with eleven volumes from Part II of the series being released between February and April in order to catch up to the Japanese serialization. Starting with the release of volume forty-five in July, Viz will begin releasing Naruto on a quarterly basis.[17]

As of May 2008, 42 tankōbon have been released by Shueisha in Japan, with the first twenty-seven tankōbon containing Part I, and the remaining fifteen belonging to Part II. The first tankōbon was released on March 3, 2000,[18] with the forty-fourth released on November 4, 2008.[19] In addition, four tankōbon, each containing ani-manga based one of the first four Naruto movies, have been released by Shueisha.[20][21][22][23] Viz has released 30 volumes of the English adaptation of the manga.[24] In addition, Viz Media released all twenty-seven volumes in a boxed set, thus constituting the entirety of the Naruto storyline before Part II on November 13, 2007.[25]

Anime series


Directed by Hayato Date and produced by Studio Pierrot and TV Tokyo, the Naruto anime adaptation premiered in Japan on TV Tokyo October 3, 2002, and ran for 220 episodes until its conclusion on February 8, 2007.[26][27] The first 135 episodes are adapted from the first twenty-seven volumes of the manga, while the remaining eighty episodes are filler episodes that utilize plot elements not seen in the original manga.[28]

Viz has licensed the anime series for broadcast and distribution in the Region 1 market.[26] The English adaptation of the anime began airing on September 10, 2005.[29] The episodes have been shown on Cartoon Network's Toonami, YTV's Bionix and Jetix UK's programming blocks.[26] In the American broadcast, references to alcohol, Japanese culture, sexual innuendo, and even blood and death were sometimes reduced for the broadcast, but left in the DVD editions.[30] Other networks make additional content edits apart from the edits done by Cartoon Network, such as Jetix's more strict censoring of blood, language, smoking and the like. The series has also been licensed to the websites Hulu and Joost to air them online in Japanese with English subtitles.[31][32]

Naruto: Shippūden

Naruto: Shippūden (ナルト 疾風伝? lit. Naruto: Hurricane Chronicles) is the ongoing sequel to the original Naruto anime and covers the Naruto manga from volume twenty-eight on. After training for two and a half years with Jiraiya, Naruto returns to Konohagakure, reunites with the friends he left behind, and reforms Team 7, now called Team Kakashi, with Sai replacing Sasuke. All of Naruto's classmates have matured and improved in the ranks, some more than others. Unlike the original series where they only played a minor role, the Akatsuki organization takes on the main antagonistic role in their attempts at world domination.

The TV adaptation of Naruto: Shippūden made its debut in Japan on February 15, 2007 on TV Tokyo, and in the Philippines on January 28, 2008 on ABS-CBN. ABS-CBN is the first international TV network (i.e. TV network outside Japan) to broadcast Naruto: Shippūden. ABS-CBN has initially aired the first 40 episodes of Naruto: Shippūden until March 19, 2008 since it is still airing in Japan.[33] Additionally, beginning January 8, 2005, TV Tokyo will begin broadcasting new episodes via internet streaming directly to monthly subscribers. Each streamed episode will be made available online within an hour of its Japanese premiere and will include English subtitles.[34] Viz will also begin streaming English subtitled episodes of the series on January 15, 2009 on their official website for the series. The uploaded episodes will include both previously released episodes and the new episodes from Japan.[35]


Naruto Original Soundtrack, released in Japan on April 3, 2003

All of the music for the Naruto soundtracks were composed and arranged by Toshio Masuda.[36] The first, called Naruto Original Soundtrack, was released on April 3, 2003 and contained twenty-two tracks that appeared during the first season of the anime.[37] The second, called Naruto Original Soundtrack II was released on March 18, 2004 and contained nineteen tracks.[38] The third, called Naruto Original Soundtrack III was released on April 27, 2005 and contained twenty-three tracks.[39]

A series of two soundtracks containing all the opening and ending themes of the series, titled Naruto: Best Hit Collection and Naruto: Best Hit Collection II were released on November 17, 2004 and August 2, 2006, respectively.[40][41] Of all tracks of the series, eight were selected and released as a CD called Naruto in Rock -The Very Best Hit Collection Instrumental Version- that was released on December 19, 2007.[42] Each of the three movies of the first anime series has a soundtrack that was released near its release date.[43][44][45] Various Drama CD series have also been released in which the voice actors play original episodes.[46]

The soundtracks of Naruto: Shippūden have been produced by Yasuharu Takanashi.[47] The first, titled Naruto Shippūden the Movie: Original Soundtrack was released on August 1, 2007[48] and Naruto Shippūden Original Soundtrack was released on December 9, 2007.[49] Naruto All Stars was released on July 23, 2008. This soundtrack consisted of ten original Naruto songs remixed and sung by characters from the series.[50]


There are a total of four Naruto original video animations (OVAs). The first two, Find the Crimson Four-Leaf Clover! and Mission: Protect the Waterfall Village!, were aired at the Shōnen Jump Jump Festa 2003 and Jump Festa 2004, respectively, and were later released on DVD.[51][52] The English localization of the second OVA was released on DVD by Viz on May 22, 2007.[53] The third OVA, Finally a clash! Jonin VS Genin!! Indiscriminate grand melee tournament meeting!!, was released on a bonus disc with the Japanese edition of the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 3 video game for the PlayStation 2.[54] The fourth OVA, Konoha Annual Sports Festival, is a short video released with the first Naruto movie.[55] There is also a special feature included with the seventh Naruto: Shippūden compilation DVD based on the second ending of the series called Hurricane! "Konoha Academy" Chronicles.[56]


The first series has also spawned three films. Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow was released on August 21, 2004 in Japan and on DVD on April 28, 2005. It tells how Team 7 is dispatched to the Land of Snow to protect the actors during the shooting of the new Princess Fuun movie, to whom Naruto became a fan. As a bonus, the short and non-canonical OVA Konoha Annual Sports Festival was included with the Japanese release of the film.[57] It premiered on September 6, 2007 in the United States.[58][59]

Legend of the Stone of Gelel was released in theaters in Japan on August 6, 2005. The film involves Naruto, Shikamaru and Sakura during a ninja mission in which they are involved in a war between the Sunagakure village and a large number of armored warriors.[60] Unlike its predecessor, Legend of the Stone of Gelel did not see a theatrical release in the United States, and was direct-to-video instead. It aired on Cartoon Network on July 26, 2008 and then was released to DVD July 29, 2008.[61]

Guardians of the Crescent Moon Kingdom was originally released on August 5, 2006. It shows how Naruto, Sakura, Lee, and Kakashi are assigned to protect the future prince of the Land of Moon, Hikaru Tsuki.[62] The English dub of the movie aired on Cartoon Network on November 11, 2008 and then was released to DVD November 11, 2008.[63][64]

The series sequel has so far two films: one film called Naruto: Shippūden the Movie was released on August 4, 2007. It tells that Naruto is assigned to protect the priest Shion who starts having visions of his death.[65] The second one Bonds was released on August 2, 2008. In the film, ninja from the Sky Country attack Konoha and to stop them, Naruto and Sasuke join forces although the latter has already left two years ago.[66]


Two Naruto novels, written by Masatoshi Kusakabe, published in Japan by Shueisha and released in English in North America by Viz. The first, Naruto: Innocent Heart, Demonic Blood is based on the first arc of the series and was released on December 16, 2002 in Japan and November 21, 2006 in North America.[67][68] The second novel Naruto: Mission: Protect the Waterfall Village!, based in the 2nd OVA of the anime, was published on December 15, 2003 in Japan and October 16, 2007 in the United States.[69][70]

Video games

Naruto video games have appeared on various consoles from Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, and Bandai. The very first Naruto video game was Naruto: Konoha Ninpouchou, which was released in Japan on March 27, 2003, for the WonderSwan Color. Most Naruto video games have been released only in Japan. It wasn't until March 7, 2006, when the first game of the Naruto: Gekitou Ninja Taisen series and Naruto: Saikyou Ninja Daikesshu series were released in North America under the titles of Naruto: Clash of Ninja and Naruto: Ninja Council that any Naruto games were officially available outside of Japan.[71][72] These games featured the voices from the English dubbed version of the anime. Recently, two new Naruto games for Nintendo DS and Wii have been revealed at the Tokyo Game Show. Also, the fifth installment to the Narutimate Hero series has been announced. There was also a new Naruto game released for the Xbox 360, Rise of a Ninja and a completely different one for the Playstation 3 is being developed by CyberConnect2 and Namco for release in 2008. It was originally known as Naruto: PS3 Project, but it has received the official title of Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm.

Trading card game

Published by Bandai, the Naruto Collectible Card Game is a collectible card game (CCG) based on the Naruto series. This game was introduced in 2006.

Art and guidebooks

Several supplementary books of the Naruto series have been released. An artbook named The Art of Naruto: Uzumaki contains illustration of Part I manga and was released in both Japan and the United States.[73] For the Part II manga, an artbook called PAINT JUMP: Art of Naruto was released by Shueisha on April 4, 2008.[74] A series of guidebooks for the Part I called First Official Data Book (秘伝・臨の書キャラクターオフィシャルデータBOOK Hiden: Rin no Sho Character Official Data Book?)[75] and Second Official Data Book (秘伝・闘の書キャラクターオフィシャルデータBOOK Hiden: Tō no Sho Character Official Data Book?)[76] were released only in Japan. These books contain character profiles, Jutsu guides and drafts made by Kishimoto. For the anime, a series of guidebook called Naruto anime profiles were also released. These books contain information about the production of the anime episodes and explanation of the characters designs.[77]


A group of fans cosplaying as Naruto characters at the 2006 Anime Expo

As of volume 36, the manga has sold over 71 million copies in Japan.[78] The Naruto manga series has become one of Viz's top properties,[79] accounting for nearly 10% of all manga sales in 2006.[80] The seventh volume of Viz's release became the first manga to ever win a Quill Award when it claimed the award for "Best Graphic Novel" in 2006.[80] The manga also appeared in the USA Today Booklist with volume 11 holding the title of the highest ranked manga series on the list, until it was surpassed by volume 28, which claimed the 17th rank in its first week of release in March 2008.[81][82][83] Volume 28 also had one of the biggest debut weeks of any manga in years and is currently the top selling manga title of 2008.[84] During its release, volume 29 ranked #57, while the volume 28 had dropped to #139.[85] In April 2007, volume 14 earned Viz the "Manga Trade Paperback of the Year" Gem Award from Diamond Comic Distributors.[86]

The series has received praise and criticism by several reviewers. A. E. Sparrow from IGN noted how some manga volumes focus only in certain characters to the point the number of fans increases. He also praised the way that Kishimoto manages to make a good combinations of fighting scenes, comedy and good artwork.[87] Carl Kimlinger from Anime Network praised the designs of the series characters, since every one shows their unique way of acting and appearance. He also noted how even "goofiest looking character" can act "damm cool" when he fights. However, he noted that since in some volumes there are several fights, the plot is not able to be developed although he praised how each of them were emotional.[88] The start of Part II has been praised in another review by Casey Brienza. She noted how good were the characters developed as they had new appearances and abilites. She also praises the balance between plot and action scenes allowing the readers the enjoy the volume. However, she noted that it is not frequent that all the volumes have the same quality.[89] Briana Lawrence from Mania Entertainment added that in Part II, the manga feels "adult" since several characters grew up but there are still comedy parts in the series. However, the translations made by Viz were criticized for being "inconsisent" due to the change of some Japanese terms to English, and other words that were left intact. Words added in the translation have also been commented to be unfittable "such as Sakura saying that Kakashi is “lackadaisical”."[89]

In TV Asahi's latest top 100 Anime Ranking, Naruto ranked 17th on the list.[90] Naruto Shippūden has ranked several times as one of most watched series from Japan.[91][92] The Naruto anime adaptation won the "Best Full-Length Animation Program Award" in the Third UStv Awards held in the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines.[93] The first of the DVD compilations containing thirteen episodes, released by Viz. was nominated at the American Anime Awards for best package design.[94]

Reviewers noted that the primary focus of the series was on the fighting since they consider that the fight scenes are more dedicated than backgrounds.[95] Active Anime praised the fights to each of them exciting since the characters also had important reasons to win as well as the comedy that sometimes occur within them, although they still were deadly.[96] The series has also been criticized for dragging the fights, but they also noted that most of them break the "stereotypical shōnen concepts."[97] Some critics panned the Battle at Hidden Falls OVA, as being a throw back to the earliest episodes of the main Naruto series. Anime News Network's reviewer called it a poor addition to the Naruto franchise that didn't "do the series justice" but may make viewers gain new appreciation for how far the series has progressed since its earliest episodes.